NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Nature is not only beautiful, but it can actually have a healing effect, according to Yale Cancer Center’s Dr. Gary Soffer.

“Keep using what kept people well for thousands of years,” he said. “Being outside, being connected to nature, these are really powerful things that allow us to improve ourselves.”

He works with patients at Yale New Haven Health’s Smilow Cancer Hospital and encourages them to visit the facility’s healing garden to connect with nature.

Soffer cites studies comparing hospital patients in rooms with different views, either of a parking lot or a view of trees and gardens.

“The patients who were facing trees and gardens got out of the hospital earlier, they required less pain medication,” he said.

He said that people experiencing pandemic depression and a reliance on screens and tvs can make the time to do what has kept people well for thousands of years.

“For a patient whose stays at home all day and watches tv, maybe it’s just about a ten minute walk getting out there,” he said.

Positive effects can also come from houseplants. One N.I.H. study of young adults on computers showed a reduction in psychological stress when they were exposed to plants.

Experts said the plants promoted comfortable, soothing and natural feelings.